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1920's Style Resources On The Way!

Full disclosure, I help run FenCon. Our theme next year is "Jazzing Up 2020." The conchairs are calling it "Jazzpunk," which is a pretty good analogy.

Over the next few months, here and on Facebook, I'll be sharing some tips and resources on 1920's fashion. Of course, I'm working on an outfit that I hope will be totally awesome, and will be sharing out the build when I'm at a point where I'm fairly certain it's going to work. This one is a bit of a tech and creative stretch for me, and I'm anxious to see where I go with this!

At any rate, if you want to "punk" up the style and gadgets from any era,  you need to first get a good handle on the style and gadgetry of that era. This is a rundown of a few television resources to get you started.

There are some really good television shows and films you can check out, in no particular order:

Downton Abbey, particularly the new film. Upstairs is the upper class fashion, and downstairs (out of uniform at least) gives some good examples of how the middle and lower classes dressed.

The Phryne Fisher Mysteries take place in 1929. The books are a treat, but the series excels at showing the high fashion of the time. The Hon. Miss Phryne Fisher, of course, is a fashion plate. But what about the rest of us? Dot is a good example of someone less ostentatious. She prefers autumn colors and dressing more plain, which makes anything dressy she does don really stand out! 

Jeeves and Wooster - Ah, Bertie is one of my favorite characters. If you're looking for male fashion examples, it's hard to go wrong with this series. (And Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are icing on the cake!)

And I've saved one of the best for last: The Frankie Drake Mysteries. This Canadian series comes from the same people behind The Murdoch Mysteries (a must, if you're looking for Steampunk inspiration!). This is set in 1920's Toronto and centers around private investigator Frankie Drake and three other strong women. One thing I really like about this series is the diversity. Not just different ethnic backgrounds, but also people of different body types in leading roles. Like Phryne Fisher, Frankie is a military veteran and isn't afraid to wear non-traditional clothing. She also rides a motorcycle. Your starting point for this series is the CBC web site. There are lots of videos, including a six-part web series that introduces the character. It also includes a couple of familiar "Murdoch" faces. You'll also find recipes for cocktails and "how to" videos for dances of the era.

One of the best things about that era in terms of women's fashion is that the drop-waist style looks good on a variety of body types. Women have ditched the corset and were using makeup. They were also free to dress in trousers for sports and other casual outings. What about the men? Things got a bit more casual for them as well. Not all suits were boring black, except in the still-staid business world. White suits were, well, suitable in the summer. This is the era when the tuxedo took hold. As in other eras, gentlemen need to watch lapel widths, ties, and trouser cut, but it's quite possible to put together a passable outfit out of modern clothing. 

And yes, class was still a "thing," especially in England. As always, if you're putting together a character, be sure to create a plausible backstory to go with the outfit and gadgets. In America, Prohibition was the "thing." Even if you don't drink, your character might. How would they hide a flask? How could you disguise the water you keep for hydration in a 20's manner? Sorry, that Yeti cup isn't very period, even if it does keep your drink cold for a long time.

Women, hit the thrift stores! You'll likely find a lot of 20's inspired formal wear. In a pinch, wear a sheath dress and tie a belt or scarf around the hips. Instant 20's!

Anyway, I plan to share some resources over the next few months, so stay tuned!

Filed under: Blog            
10/5/2019 2:32:00 PM





What Is an NFC tag?



NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It's the same sort of tech used for many card entry systems at buildings. Does your phone support Apple Pay or Google Pay? Then you've got it!

The NFC tag/light combo above brings up a URL. The light blinks then will go steady when the tag is read.

So, what sort of information can you embed on a tag? All sorts of cool things. A URL. Your social media page. A link to an image, file, or location on a map.  Your contact information for someone to save to their phone. Your "In Case of Emergency" info. 

People are using NFC tags on pet collars to hold owner contact information. The pet may be chipped, but reading it requires a trip to the vet. A compatible phone can read the data and perhaps reunite the pet with the owner a bit sooner. (This does not replace a chip, though as collars can be torn off.)

Now that you know what a tag is, you'll want to know if your phone supports it and how to program it. Please go to the tutorial for all that goodness!

Filed under: Blog   Tutorials         
5/24/2019 4:39:00 PM





Updates!

New items are available in all of the galleries. Check 'em out!
Filed under: Blog            
3/2/2019 2:04:00 PM





Looking Forward to 2019!

It's been a rough couple of years for me personally, but things have finally settled down, and I'm looking forward to all the things I can do next year!

My first con will be ConDFW, February 15-17. This is ConDFW's final year, so please show up and help them go out with a bang! I'll be on programming and will have a table with some mew merchandise.

Speaking of new merchandise, I've spent the last part of the year planning new items I can sell. The first new items will be laser engraved shot glasses! I'm sourcing geeky designs and sayings for them. Follow Steam Cat on Facebook for more information.

I have added one new programming item to the Bookings page as well. If you would like me to attend your convention, please drop me a line. I'm also looking for places and shows in Texas where I can sell, even if I'm not on programming. If you would like to see Steam Cat a con near you, please send me some details so I can see about getting a table.

I'll leave you with our family Catmas card. That's Midnight, the cat in the logo. She's now eighteen, and still plows through the cat treats, which was the inspiration for this year's card.

Happy 2019!

2018_card.jpg

Filed under: Blog            
12/31/2018 3:34:00 PM





Thank You, SoonerCon!

I had a brain freeze and totally forgot to put my SoonerCon schedule on the site. Sorry about that.

Nevertheless, we had a great turnout at the prop and costume lighting presentation. I'm working on a follow-up post with all of the resources for the items we showed. For now, you can start on the Resources page, which is a generalized list. I'll get more specific in the next list, and will be updating it as needed. (Update 7/1/2018: There is now an entry on the Resources page specific to this panel.)

Thank you again to SoonerCon for having us back, and thank you all for being such a great audience. You had some very good questions, and I hope we answered them to your satisfaction.

Is there anything you would like to see in future presentations? Drop me a line at info - at - SteamCat - dot -net.



Filed under: Blog            
6/26/2018 10:34:00 AM





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